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Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry has an important role to play in the nation’s clean growth agenda

May 26, 2020

NEIA’s Executive Director, Kieran Hanley, outlines the contribution that Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry can make to Canada’s clean growth objectives during a provincial news conference today.

View a video of Hanley’s remarks, or read the transcript, below.

Kieran Hanley speaking at a news conference today in support of the province’s oil and gas industry


Good afternoon,

I would to thank Premier Ball, Minister Coady, and my colleagues and partners this afternoon for the opportunity to say a few words.

NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the development of clean technology and the growth of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

NEIA has over 200 members working throughout every sector of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy, including the provision of environmental products and services within Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry. And on behalf of NEIA, I am here this afternoon to state that the success of this industry is not just critical to the economy of our province, but is also a centrepiece of Newfoundland and Labrador’s clean growth strategy.

We know that urgent action is required world-wide in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Such fundamental changes in the economy, its infrastructure, and the habits of consumers that will be required… will not happen overnight. Oil and gas represents upwards of 60% of global energy consumption; if the world has any hope of meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets, it is clear that changes within the oil and gas industry have to be part of the solution.

Canada can play a major role in helping to lead this shift. As you have already heard, the characteristics of its offshore industry put us in an excellent position in this regard. The type of oil in our offshore is highly attractive because its grade (light sweet crude) is the least impactful from an environmental perspective to process. The activities involved in the extraction of Canada’s offshore oil is among the least carbon intensive in the world – 30% below the international average in fact.

And so it is within our reach to set a global standard for the decarbonization of the oil and gas industry. There are opportunities for immediate investments and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. It is conceivable that Canada’s very first offshore wind farm could facilitate the electrification of offshore operations – what a fitting and powerful representation of the energy transition that would be. Alternatively, the clean electricity from our immense hydro resources can be used for the same purpose.

And beyond these major clean growth projects, there are myriad cleantech opportunities throughout the industry’s vast supply chain. Zero-emissions supply vessels. Electrified ports. Major energy efficiency initiatives. Digitalized and remote operations. These are substantial cleantech research, development, and commercialization endeavors … solutions that can be exported worldwide.

We know this because we have already seen this pattern play out. Atlantic Canada is home to an unnaturally high number of SMEs with world-class technologies that help us understand our impacts on the ocean environment and, in turn, its impact on us … through lasers, radar, sonar, subsea hi-def video, and so on.

This expertise would not have been developed without Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry. And this past success is indicative of the opportunities before us if we embrace – in a strategic fashion – becoming the least carbon intensive oil producing region on the planet.

Further, Canada’s offshore industry’s support of a provincial net zero by 2050 policy has the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy. The continued success of this industry in our province will provide us with an opportunity to rapidly transition into one of the cleanest jurisdictions in the world with one of the most advanced clean growth economies.

But none of this will come to pass without the support that the industry needs today to survive this crisis. Newfoundland and Labrador’s clean technology and environmental services sector is working hard with its oil and gas partners to develop this vision of clean growth. Taking a collaborative approach, we know that the future can be bright for our province. We are committed to a clean growth future, and we are united in its pursuit.

The world is in the midst of an energy transition. Canada can be at the forefront, setting the standard by which other oil producing nations must follow. Newfoundland and Labrador’s clean growth opportunity is enormous – but we need help to make it happen.

Thank you.


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